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Cellist Pursues Programming Career in Ann Arbor

April 3, 2018 Talent
Man and woman posing with baby

The world of tech attracts individuals with a wide variety of talents. Jacob Visovatti, an Ann Arbor area native who left home to study cello performance at Ball State University, recently returned to the region with a new proclivity for programming.

“I departed Ball State with training in cello, voice, and conducting — as well as a fiancée,” reminisced Jacob. “Coming out of school, I knew I’d want to start a family soon, so I was exploring options that didn’t include grinding away at the music scene for decades.”

Jacob ended up working as an implementation specialist for a non-profit, tech-ed company based in Houston. It was here that he began to develop an interest in programming, specifically when working with the end users. “I learned a lot while consulting, seeing it from their perspective and realizing how difficult it can be to navigate poorly designed, poorly constructed tech.”

It was while he was working as an implementation specialist that he started to take programming classes online from Washtenaw Community College (WCC). “I love the programs at WCC — they kick-started my training with the best value that I can imagine.”

Jacob, committed to transitioning into a new career, returned to Ann Arbor. “In addition to being in the area to be close to family, I knew if wanted to work directly with tech as a programmer, I could do more if we relocated.”

And do more he did. Jacob attended meet-ups and educational events, scheduled informational interviews with industry leaders, and attended SPARK’s Tech Homecoming, an annual event that take’s place the night before Thanksgiving every year. Tech Homecoming showcases available positions at leading innovation-based businesses.

“Being here was the best way for me to accomplish my goals. With organizations like SPARK, plus the overwhelming need for tech talent in the area, and I was able to attend events to learn and network. Made it much easier for me to transition into a tech career.”

As a result of Jacob’s hard work and dedication to self-study, he was able to find a place at Pillar Technology as a software apprentice. “For around three months, apprentices study and train with senior team members, gaining additional experience on real-world challenges. I’ll be graduating from the program right around the time my second child arrives.”

Jacob believes his experience as a cellist also helped prepare him for his new career. “At Pillar, we do pair programming, where two people work on one computer. There is an interplay of ideas bouncing back and forth as we drive through obstacles and solve them quickly. It reminds me very much of chamber music, when I would play a duet with a violinist. It’s a very similar feeling where there has to be some give and take.”

Finally, Jacob shared his thoughts about returning to his childhood home. “While I grew up in Saline, just south of Ann Arbor, my wife and I currently live within walking distance to downtown Ann Arbor — just a mile from Michigan Stadium. The area is so vibrant with a great buzz. You feel that in the tech community as well. I see the logos of other really good companies around here and I’m aware of the serious work that’s being done. That’s rewarding in of itself, to know that you are in a community that really cares about what they are trying to achieve, that you’re all moving in the same direction, together.”